Loyalty marketing (social, data base, telemarketing and target campaigns) should also be a cornerstone of any country broadcaster's long-term plan.
There is, however, another tool that is so
inexpensive and easy to do that many stations overlook it as a good
barometer of problems that might require more extensive quantitative
research and/or marketing: ask your listeners!
Set up a panel
of your active listeners, and meet with them on a regular basis. We
recommend airing an ongoing campaign of an nouncements on your air to
inform listeners of the existence of your "Listener Advisory Board."
Set up a link on your website for people to "sign up."
a weekly station newsletter to the entire data base. Do online
research, set up a "get a clue" voice mail line for listener
complaints/suggestions, and con stantly invite opinions on station
programming on it. Air listener-voiced comments and/or read their
letters in regular promos to let people know you really do pay attention
to their gripes and compliments.
Choose listeners at random
from the panel to meet for a light dinner (restaurant or hotel trade)
monthly with station staff and/or independent research people. AOB will
be happy to perform this function for you if a qualified moderator
cannot be found at a local college or university marketing research
department. Keep us informed on problems and results if you choose to
conduct the panels in-house.
Keep the groups small - less than 15
persons. Use the panels to test potential marketing campaigns, TV
commer cials, contests, morning show ideas, special programming,
poten tially objectionable commercials, new music trends, etc.
that you are NOT doing research, since the participants are aware of
the station that is asking the questions. However, since the bias in
groups like this is to normally be quite com plimentary, when negatives
come out they must be taken very seriously.
Actually, it has been
our experience that country fans feel a sense of ownership of "their"
radio station, and as a result when they are convinced that honesty will
be taken seriously and result in changes on the air, they can be
brutally frank and protective about the airwaves of their favorite
And, isn't that the way to make them feel involved and loyal to keep 'em listening longer?
Besides, what competitor can take away your listeners when they feel like they all sit on your "Board of Directors"?
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